Bulleh Shah

Bulleh Shah

Bulleh Shah (1680 – 1757) ( _pa. Shahmukhi:Nastaliq|بلہے شاہ, Gurmukhi: ਬੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਸ਼ਾਹ), whose real name was Abdullah Shah [ [http://www.apnaorg.com/poetry/bullahn/ The Life of Bulleh Shah] ] , was a Punjabi Sufi poet.


Bulleh Shah is believed to have been born in 1680, in the small village of Uch, Bahawalpur, Punjab, now in Pakistan [ [http://www.poetseers.org/spiritual_and_devotional_poets/sufi/bulleh_shah Bulleh Shah Biography] ] . His ancestors had migrated from Bukhara in modern Uzbekistan .

At the age of six months, his parents relocated to Malakwal. There his father, Shah Muhammad Darwaish, was a preacher in the village mosque and a teacher. His father later got a job in Pandoke, about 50 miles southeast of Kasur. Bulleh Shah received his early schooling in Pandoke, and moved to Kasur for higher education, to become a student of the prominent professor, Ghulam Murtaza. He also received education from Maulana Mohiyuddin. His spiritual teacher was the eminent Sufi saint, Shah Inayat Qadri [http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_27-8-2004_pg7_46 247th Bulleh Shah fair begins] Daily Times, August 27, 2004.] .

Bulleh Shah was a direct descendant of Muhammad, through the progeny of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Gillani of Baghdad.

A large amount of what is known about Bulleh Shah comes through legends, and is subjective; to the point that there isn’t even agreement among historians concerning his precise date and place of birth. Some "facts" about his life have been pieced together from his own writings. Other "facts" seem to have been passed down through oral traditions.

Bulleh Shah practiced the Sufi tradition of Punjabi poetry established by poets like Shah Hussain (1538 – 1599), Sultan Bahu (1629 – 1691), and Shah Sharaf (1640 – 1724).

Bulleh Shah lived in the same period as the famous Sindhi Sufi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhatai (1689 – 1752). His lifespan also overlapped with the legendary Punjabi poet Waris Shah (1722 – 1798), of Heer Ranjha fame, and the famous Sindhi Sufi poet Abdul Wahad (1739 – 1829), better known by his pen-name, Sachal Sarmast (“truth seeking leader of the intoxicated ones”). Amongst Urdu poets, Bulleh Shah lived 400 miles away from Mir Taqi Mir (1723 – 1810) of Agra.

He died in 1758, and his tomb is located in Kasur, Pakistan [ [http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/B/BullehShah/ Poems by Bulleh Shah] ] .

Poetry Style

The verse form Bulleh Shah primarily employed is called the Kafi, a style of Punjabi, Sindhi and Siraiki poetry used not only by the Sufis of Sindh and Punjab, but also by Sikh gurus.

Bulleh Shah’s poetry and philosophy strongly criticizes Islamic religious orthodoxy of his day. At the time worldy corruption had been taken over as opposed to the true teachings of Islam.

A Beacon of Peace

Baba Bulleh Shah's time was marked with communal strife between Muslims and Sikhs. But in that age Baba Bulleh Shah was a beacon of hope and peace for the citizens of Punjab. While Bulleh Shah was in Pandoke, Muslims killed a young Sikh man who was riding through their village in retaliation for murder of some Muslims by Sikhs. Baba Bulleh Shah denounced the murder of an innocent Sikh and was censured by the mullas and muftis of Pandoke. Bulleh Shah maintained that violence was not the answer to violence.

Bulleh Shah also hailed Guru Tegh Bahadur as a ghazi (Islamic term for a religious warrior) and incurred the wrath of the mullas.


Bulleh Shah’s writings represent him as a humanist, someone providing solutions to the sociological problems of the world around him as he lives through it, describing the turbulence his motherland of Punjab is passing through, while concurrently searching for God. His poetry highlights his mystical spiritual voyage through the four stages of Sufism: Shariat (Path), Tariqat (Observance), Haqiqat (Truth) and Marfat (Union). The simplicity with which Bulleh Shah has been able to address the complex fundamental issues of life and humanity is a large part of his appeal. Thus, many people have put his kafis to music, from humble street-singers to renowned Sufi singers like the Waddali Brothers and Abida Parveen, from the synthesized techno qawwali remixes of UK-based Asian artists to the rock band Junoon.

Bulleh Shah’s popularity stretches uniformly across Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, to the point that much of the written material about this Muslim thinker is from Hindu and Sikh authors.

Modern Renditions

In the 1990s Junoon, Asia's biggest rock band from Pakistan, has also rendered such poems as Aleph (Ilmon Bas Kareen O Yaar) and Bullah Ki Jaana. Bulleh Shah's verses have also been adapted and used in Bollywood film songs. In 2004, Rabbi Shergill successfully performed the unlikely feat of turning the abstruse metaphysical poem Bullah Ki Jaana into a Rock/Fusion song, which became hugely popular in India and Pakistan. Another version was performed by Lakhwinder Wadali titled simply Bullah. Examples include the songs Chhayya Chhayya and Thayya Thayya in the movie Dil Se. The Wadali Bandhu, a Punjabi Sufi group from India, also released a version of Bullah Ki Jaana on their album Aa Mil Yaar...Call of the Beloved.

See also

*Kasur, The City of Saint Bulleh Shah
*List of Punjabi language poets

Works online

* [http://onetruename.com/bullehshah.htm Bulleh Shah poetry]
* [http://www.apnaorg.com/poetry/bullahn/ Articles on Bulleh Shah's life and poetry (apna.org)]
* [http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/B/BullehShah/index.htm Bulleh Shah: Poems (English translations) and Biography (poetry-chaikhana.com)]

External links

* [http://www.indo-pak.org/content/view/69/58/ Short Biography of Bulleh Shah]
* [http://www.sikhspectrum.com/082004/punjabi.htm Littérateurs of the Punjabi Language (sikhspectrum.com)]
* [http://www.geocities.com/shahidfm2/bulleh_shah.htm Article on Bulleh Shah's life and poetry (Kasur.20fr.com)]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shah Inayat Qadiri — was a Sufi saint most well known for being the spiritual guide (murshid) of the famous Punjabi poet Bulleh Shah. He belonged to the Arain caste and earned his living through agriculture or gardening. He also lived in Kasur for some time, but due… …   Wikipedia

  • Shah (surname) — Shah (Gujarati: શાહ) is a surname common among people from India. List of People with the name Shah The surname Shah may refer to: * Abdullah Shah (died 2004), was the first person executed by the post Taliban Afghan state. * Anil R. Shah, MD,… …   Wikipedia

  • Shah Nimatullah Wali — Qutb, Muslim scholar Hazrat Sayyed Nur uddin Kermani Title Shah Nematollah Vali Died 1431 A.D (835 Hijri) Influences Ibn Arabi and Abd Allah Yafe i …   Wikipedia

  • Shah Inayat Rizvi — Sindhi Sufi Poet Shah Inayat Rizvi Title Miyun Shah Inayat Rizvi Born 1613 Died 1701 Ethnicity Sindhi …   Wikipedia

  • Idries Shah — ادریس شاه इदरीस शाह Born 16 June 1924 (1924 06 16) Simla, India Died 23 November 1996 …   Wikipedia

  • Omar Ali-Shah — ओमर अली शाह عمر علی شاہ Born 1922 Died September 7, 2005 (aged 82–83) Jerez, Spain Occupation Sufi teacher, writer Ethnicity Anglo Afghan Indian Subjects …   Wikipedia

  • Maulana Syed Muhammad Zauqi Shah — (1878–1951) was a Sufist scholar considered a Waliullah or Sufist saint. He graduated from Aligarh University in India. A member of the Chishti Order of Sufi, his work combined merits of Islamic scholarship and modern knowledge. He was a close… …   Wikipedia

  • Maulana Shah Jamali — was a 19th century sufi saint from the Indian Subcontinent [1].He contributed to the spreading of Islam in the Indian subcontinent.He belonged to the naqshabandiyyah order of sufi saints. References ^ The Sufi Saints of the Indian Subcontinent by …   Wikipedia

  • Bullah Ki Jaana — Bullah ki jaanna is a Kafi written by Sufi Saint Bulleh Shah. Bulleh Shah is famous for his aesthetic, spiritual and metaphysical compositions [ [http://www.apnaorg.com/poetry/bullahn/ Bulleh Shah: Life and poetry] ] and Bullah ki janaa is one of …   Wikipedia

  • Junoon (band) — This article is about the band. For the band s self titled album, see Junoon (Junoon album). Junoon Junoon performing live at a concert. Visible from left to right are; Ali Azmat and Brian O Connell. Background information …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.